Jeff Lynne Portrait, acrylic on illustration board.
Click image for a larger view.
The subject of this speed painting is another pop culture icon from my youth. Anyone who grew up in the 70s or 80s will remember Jeff Lynne, multi-talented leader of the Electric Light Orchestra. He was also the co-founder of the Traveling Wilburys and producer for the Beatles, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Randy Newman, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty and Regina Spektor among others. I loved his music (still do). I’ve always thought of him as one of the coolest musicians ever. I did this painting in 1 hour and 40 minutes. For my explanation of speed painting, see my blog article about my Speed Racer speed painting.
This post has nothing to do with graphic design or illustration, at least not directly. It is nevertheless about communication. And since this blog is about visual communication the following story seems relevant.
I ride public transportation to and from work. Yesterday, as I was getting on the bus, I immediately noticed a young lady sitting in the first seat. She was a lovely girl, in her early 20s I think. I noticed her because her body language suggested to me that she was anxious; she seemed worried about something. Her posture was very straight and stiff, her motions quick and jerky. As she focused her attention to the people getting on the bus her eyes darted back and forth, scanning each person as they boarded. It seemed odd to me, still, minding my business I walked back to the nearest open seat, put my ear buds in my ears and turned on my iPod to help me get through the usually boring ride home. I quickly forgot about the worried young lady at the front of the bus.
A few stops later she caught my attention again. As the bus pulled up to another group of people this lovely and worried young lady suddenly darted toward the door, then just as suddenly stopped and sat back down. That’s when I saw him. A young man of about the same age as the girl jumped through the bus entrance, sat down next to the girl and gave her a hug. She whispered something into his ear which I took to be, “You have to pay the bus driver.” at which he jumped up and said, “Oh yeah!” as he went forward to pay his fare.
What happened next is what really caught my attention.
When the young man quickly returned to his seat next to the girl the two of them entered into an embraced which seemed to make them one person. Everything was suddenly calm; their world was at peace. Muscles seemed to relax in a long exhaled breath. Then came...the kiss. The boy had his back to me so I could only see his very full head of semi-long hair but I could clearly see the girl’s face. I saw her place her left hand on the back of his head and pull him toward her. She closed her eyes as she kissed him on his lips. It wasn’t a quick peck that is easily ignored on a busy bus and it wasn’t a kiss of wild passion that makes you look the other way. This was a long, hard, deliberate kiss that said, “I love you and I’m so glad you are here!”
I was moved!
I wanted to rewind time and watch it again. It was breathtaking! I don’t believe I have ever seen a kiss like that in all my life. I hope I never forget it for as long as I live. I suspect there isn’t an artist alive nor in all of history who could have painted the love that was so easily, effortlessly yet powerfully expressed in the body language of that moment.
Since then I have been wondering about the context surrounding that kiss. Why was the young girl so anxious? Was she afraid the young man would miss the bus? Where were they going? How long since they had last seen one another? None of this really matters.